brothers, part 25

If you’re a zipper, you don’t want to be around Rick these days.

Fidgeting is an occupational hazard with dementia, a way of coping with the constant anxiety. For Rick, that means no zipper goes unpunished. He is a zipperholic, if there is such a thing. If not, I hereby copyright it. Please send me a dollar whenever you use it. Thanks.

As we went out for our morning walk today, I tried to zip up his trusty Standard-Times jacket for him, but the zipper’s missing. So we switched to the Eddie Bauer jacket. No zipper. I looked at my REI jacket. Nope. I nervously looked down at my shorts. Luckily, Gramiccis have no zipper, so we were not arrested during our outing.

How’s Rick doing? Remarkably well under the circumstances. He’s trapped in this horrible dark place and can’t find his way out. A tunnel with no light at the end. Sometimes I wish he didn’t know what’s going on. “We’ve got to get out of here,” he just told me. i don’t know where we can go.

But he is coping courageously, flashing that Rick Smile often and giving me a big HELLO! even when he has no idea who I am. Bouts of quiet frustration are interspersed with periods of joy. I guess you can’t ask for more than that. OK, maybe that and the return of my zipper. But still.

June has a lock on the fridge and freezer so he can’t break in at night. But when I woke up this morning, the ice cream was all gone. The fruits and vegetables were unscathed. Same ol’ Rick. Investigative journalists will always get to the bottom of a story. And a tub of neopolitan.

We have matching beards these days. We are twins. Just took me two years longer to arrive. A shame. We would’ve made such great hobos.

He came walking out of the study today carrying a legal pad. I half expected him to interview me. I wouldn’t have told him anything. Damn mainstream media.

He’s getting around OK and no doubt could still trounce me in Scrabble if he hadn’t eased up on me in our later years. He’s lost a couple steps, but he’s not out of the race by a long ways. I look forward to many more visits to crew for him.

Mostly, Rick is still Rick. If there’s a blessing in this, it’s that dementia hasn’t robbed him of that inherent kindness that radiates from his soul. You can see it when he’s gently petting the dogs, or waving to the neighbors while out for a walk, or giving a hug to a wayward brother in the morning as they introduce themselves for the millionth time.

How’s Rick? He’s just fine. He says hey. Thanks for caring.

But if you see him, maybe hide your zipper.

About gary

no sock monkeys were harmed in the making of this blog.
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